“We Wuz Here First!” “We Wuz Here Last!”

     There is a clever meme and some quotes going around now that claim “you can’t have an illegal alien on stolen ground.” You know – words to that effect. You can’t declare someone an illegal alien if you stole the ground, kind of message. Very esoteric. But historically shallow. And not realistic.

     Think for a moment about ALL the civilizations of the world, world history since…since the beginning. Think of the travel. The wars. The kingdoms. The empires. They do come and go through time. Animals even fought for turf. One of the first “smart” books I read decades ago as a teen was Ardrey’s “The Territorial Imperative.” I think his ants/bugs, animal/human research still stands (please tell me if otherwise?). Life fights for territory, and life fights to keep it.

     Tribes. Churches. Governments. EVERYONE through time, took the lands and the people of everyone else in a never-ending, geographic, musical chairs. Enslaving. Killing. Maiming. Controlling. Who are the original owners of what anymore? (I have been following some work – see below – that even native American genes have European DNA.)

     Before memes, decades ago, there were expressions going around (without the web? How? But somehow “going around”) that – the “guys with the biggest guns are always in charge.” Words to that effect.

     There is plenty of evidence that mankind is getting safer, less violent and better. But, then and even right now, it seems the guys with the biggest guns, biggest gates, biggest walls get to call the “whose-in, whose-out, shots, no matter who was there before, no matter how much it philosophically/esoterically “smarts.”

“We wuz here first!”
“Yeah, well…we wuz here last.”

     It’s nice to make clever memes and all with Indians and Eskimos and so forth. In just about any country you could have memes with the “pre-race/group” people, before the church, or the Romans, the Zulus, or the vikings, or whoever marched in to wherever. But the memes don’t mean much in the “guns-gates-walls” equation.

     This is no excuse to screw over people, I am just reminding the poetic, esoterics/memers of their short-history perspective. How far back do you want to go?

(Hey, please email me with any pristine lands or islands you can think of with their absolute original occupants still there, but also free of war, even tribal war. Interesting to collect a list.)


More on this – Audrey’s The Territorial Imperative 


More on this – Diamond’s Gun , Germs, Steel


Hock’s email HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Seizing Guns. We did. We do.

Seizing guns. We use to do it. Do police seize guns? Yes. How long have they? Long time.

     In May 2018, a Quinnipiac poll suggested Texas Voters are in favor of stricter gun regulations. The Quinnipiac survey also showed very high support for requiring background checks among gun buyers, at 93% support. The study surveyed only 1,029 registered voters from across Texas – keep in mind – the current population of Texas is nearing 30 million people, and I don’t know who all “Quinny” asked “across the state?”
     But there indeed does some to be a common consensus in Texas and the USA for more serious background checks.  AND…some support for snatching up the guns of crazy people as the police come upon them.
     Yes, another request from various police authorities is for more “fast-gun-snatching” from on the scene, touchy situations and from odd, crazy people. This plucks at the “due process” heartstrings of American law. But I am here to tell you, there was, once upon a time, an era when we police snatched up guns without things like a molasses, judicial exam. We use to seize some guns in the old days. No warrants. No judges. No hearings. No process. Just us on the street. By God, we just took em!
“This plucks at the “due process” heartstrings of
American law.”
     This was years before the “dead fingers” lingo and logos of today. Years before the contentious liberal vs NRA battles. Just took em.’ So, here’s a piece of police history on that I was a witness to and part of.
     Texas policing and military policing. In the 1970s and 80s in my necks of the woods, if we were sent to a “hot” call/situation, we would assess the deal. The people. The past, present and future. We very often knew the people involved. Drugs? Booze? Prior violence? If we determined that there might-be/could-be motive for future violence within the next 24 or even 36 hours? Or suicide? And we knew there were guns thereabouts? And we couldn’t make an arrest for some legal reason? It was not uncommon to get the guns in various domestic disturbances, assaults, neighbor quarrels, anything that your common sense on the scene might predict stewing, brewing violence after we left. To my memory nothing bad happened afterward. And, no one complained about the gun…confiscation either. Weird huh? We would snatch up the guns and explain:
     “Look, based on what we have here? I think I am going to take these guns. So there are no problems after I leave. Nobody gets hurt. Everyone cools down (or sobers up).”
     “Huh, what? How do I get them back?” they would ask.
     “You are going to have pay a visit to the police chief. If he thinks you’re okay? He’ll give em’ all back to you.”
     Usually it was just one gun. Or two? If we did this on a Friday night, the guy, or gal, but usually a guy, would have to wait until at least Monday to see the Chief. We would unload the guns, lock the guns up in the corner of the police chief’s office with a copy of the incident report taped to the barrel. Then, the next “bidness” day, an appointment was made. The Chief would sit for awhile with the person and talk to them, lecture them, and then almost always give them the guns back. Rarely, he would wait a few extra days if he thought more cooling was in order. Can you imagine the Dallas police chief doing such a thing these days? Atlanta? BALTIMORE? If there wasn’t a dystopian revolution first, the counseling appointments at the chief’s office alone would take more than a full time job.
     In the Army it wasn’t the police chief. It would be an MP Captain, or the Provost Marshal (like the police commissioner). It could be the guy’s unit commander. Or even a lessor officer we might reach. Then he became that guy’s “unit problem.” Remember this was a person living on the base and subject to the varied, old, military, base-by-base, rules of gun ownership. Which could also be and could still be, a little crazy despite the 2nd Amendment.
     How did this happen back then, in a world with a 2nd Amendment? Cold dead fingers? The gun laws were a hodge-podge mess in many states and so too in Texas way back then. In our city and in many cities and counties, if you wanted to “legally” carry a gun, you often just got a letter from the police chief or county sheriff to do so.  Yet, another meeting, appointment with the big man. A person, let’s say one with a business who took money to the bank each day, or someone with a crazy uncle or ex-husband, etc, got a letter from the chief or sheriff to carry a gun. So in “backwoods law,” ye old chief/sheriff was considered to be somewhat of a local authority on gun ownership and carry. Best have it with you. I have been shown a number of such letters through the years. Reading them with my flashlight in the middle of the night at some incident or traffic stop.
     I lived in a rural Georgia county for a time  in the 1990s. South of Chattanooga and well north of Atlanta. To carry a handgun there, all you had to do was go to the county seat courthouse and simply sign a “gun book,” a thick, old-school, official, leather ledger. When my wife and I did sign the book, as we are gun people –
     “So, there’s no training or anything with this?” I asked the county, holy-keeper-of -the-gun-book.
     He looked at me funny and said, “No. And old people can’t be running around on a gun range, training. And they have a right to defend themselves too.”
      Too old to train? He’s right. Today, many ignorant liberals think first “no guns,” then “if guns?” a gun owner needs to first pass a Navy SEAL shooting program just to have a bedside pistola. I’m sure Atlanta has other rules.
     But, time marched on. In the mid-1980s, the more “modern” the police chief we got in as time went on, the less this gun-pick-up would happen. Finally it quit altogether, just slowly evolved away. For one reason, I don’t think the modern police chief or elected sheriff wanted such personal involvement with real people’s, ground zero problems. Meanwhile big cities had rules. Smaller ones didn’t. Rural counties didn’t. Everybody seemed to have one gun anyway.
     Time marched on and as other states defined their concealed carry laws, Texas did too, a little behind the curve. Much of Texas was and still is rural with boars, rattlers, coyotes, rabid dogs and raccoons, gators down east and a half a dozen other things that need occasional killing. Many Texicans had and still have a shotgun in a rack in the back window of their pick up. This ain’t Berkeley or New York City, nor DC, bubba. Don’t be telling us what to do. You have no idea what happens out on the mesa! In the Piney Woods. Or for that matter, Deep Ellum in Dallas.
     The laws, the ideas, the political movements change. Today, such gun seizing of yesteryear could become lawsuits and demonstrations and big news coverage. 2nd Amendment horrors. But back then, no one objected to this quiet, casual “policy,” as the general public thought it was a good idea, it wasn’t abused, and therefore, we had the authority to do so. Like I said, this was well before the “dead fingers” lingo and logos of today.
     I know this idea is freaking people out, but this was not about the police going door-to-door and collecting guns like the Oath-Keepers worry about. This is a very small-scale, situational. Today, when various police chiefs and sheriffs want stronger laws to pre-empt things like school shooters and so forth, I think this sort of the model they are asking for. With the establishment of current carry gun laws, with the implementation of quick arrest policies in domestic disturbances, and other modern protocols, many of the reasons to just seize guns in hot situations are gone. There are now other, more established, legal alternatives/solutions to hot situations.
     But what about predicting future crime? 12 hours? 24 hours? A school shooting? You’re on the scene and you think something could happen tomorrow, or next week at the church, beauty salon or a school? 
     Texas Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a 40-point plan for improving school safety in late May, 2018. The plan mentions a potential “red flag” law that would allow judges to temporarily take guns away from people deemed to be dangerous if there is legal due process. Abbott didn’t call for legislators to pass such a law — he instead wants to “encourage” lawmakers to “consider the merits” of adopting it. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus took him up on that late Wednesday and instructed a committee of the lower chamber to study such legal provisions. Study! Study, Studies. Chin-rubbing. Head-scratching. Wind-blowing.  Hem-hawing. How is all that going to work exactly?
    I would be curious to know of other veteran officers around the country had these olden-days policies? I already know some did and still do in Arizona, Illinois, North Caroline, California, Oklahoma and Missouri from friends. Contact me with stories. Did you? Do you still?.
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“Cadena De _____,” or “Chain of the _______”

 As taught to me from several FMA instructors from the Presas Family to the Inosanto family, going back decades, the classic “Chain of the____ (fill in the blank)” drills were an important stage in training progressions.

Chain of the Hand – cadena de mano
Chain of the Stick – cadena de baston
Chain of the Knife – cadena de daga

     It essentially is blocking (as in hitting the attack very hard), then grabbing the attacking limb with your free/support hand. Or grabbing the attacking stick itself too, if that’s the case. Shoving the grab out of the way and hitting back with your hand, or your stick, or your knife. From….

From the outside right position
From the inside right position
From the inside left position
From the outside left position
From above, right or left
From below, right or left

     It, in my opinion is usually practiced too cavalierly and too slowly and can create a false sense of speed and success versus fighting in real time for unenlightened students.

     And, it might be best against a diminished fighter – one already cracked in the head or say – knee, or against one who is quickly out of gas. Or, is untrained and nonathletic, drugged, etc… Some might call it “second tier” options. But watch the guys who make a living teaching this like I have seen in the Philippines and they are VERY fast and can snatch a fast limb or a speedy stick with good success. In fact, when I was about 30 years old and doing this stuff all the time, I got pretty good at it too. But, it ain’t easy. And remember not everyone you fight is a speedy boxer or stick fighter. Have you seen the Youtube clips lately? Grabbing is not impossible.

     The word “chain” is used in many martial ways. We hear it in everything from chain punching to grabs to machine guns. These concepts go back to Europe also, and passed through the Philippines, as you will hear versions of these “Espanyol-ish” terms back in Spain, Portugal and Italy. We are quick to credit the Philippines for a lot of stuff, but we shouldn’t be so quick. I have seen the move in karate, American Apache knife fighting. Or football even (even roller derby!). You want to call it Wing Chun trapping hands? You can! Tapi-Tapi? Sure? Looks like Balintawak? Yes. As Remy would often say “it is all de same.”

     Chaining with weapons: You’ve hit the attacking limb so hard, he drops the weapon! Yeah. Bloody good for you (this impact is trained in a progression series). But, what if he doesn’t drop the weapon? Well, crap! But maybe you have at least diminished his grip with a little pain? But sometimes your impact/block STOPPED his incoming attack. Stopped it long enough to be grabbed. This grab, is…the “chain of…something.” If you have virtually stopped or really slowed down an incoming attack, you might have a chance to grab the limb.

     This, as explained to me so long ago I can’t remember by whom, – that hand grab, that hand catch, is the first “link” of survival. The first link of the chain. Link-Chain. Get it? Thus the “Chain of Something” has an official name for a chapter in training lifestyles. Thank you very much.

     Of course, the next step in the chain is to block or stop that incoming strike after YOU’VE been grabbed. Then you, then he, then you, then he, then, then. Then…then you have a system of study for hand, stick and knife. I use the universal, unforgettable, Combat Clock for angles of attack, but you apply your chosen hobby’s angle of attack system to play the the “Then-Then” game. This ain’t brain surgery or rocket science.

     Many martial artists and systems use this chain concept. Remy used the “Chains” too, These close-up “Chain” events. This area of course, is just a segment of a fight. I think some stick systems spend entirely TOO MUCH TIME here at the expense of other problems (like stick dueling for one). In the olden days, Remy was a real mover and head-banger and he spent copious amounts of time making us swing sticks and hit as hard as we could at longer ranges. Ernesto too.

     Remy was fond of showing things and then stopping, looking at us and saying to us, “Of course, you could just hit the man in the head with a stick, but I want you to learn the art.”

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Dukes up! Another Kind of “Boom Stick.”

     For decades now, I have spotted “sloppiness, bad structure here and there in training, be it during my old Texas school of the 80s and 90s, or years on the road in seminars. Dropping hands. Sloppy finishes of strikes, or striking sets. For some people this is not a problem as they return to integrity after each move.

    Others? Not so much. I have taped a boxing glove to a stick, stood behind a feeder and clobbered trainees that don’t cover themselves well when punching and kicking mitts, pads, shields. The recalcitrant, seeing me behind the trainer, seeing this pending boom, suddenly seem to cover well, but often when I walk away? The sloppiness might return?

     I can only hope that when before a real threat, they also worry not about a boom stick, but about a real punch, and they also cover so well? But, boom stick or not, in training mitt drills, in kicking shield drills, they/you must maintain good integrity and structure for good habits. 

Dukes up!

Email Hock at HockHochheim@ForceNecessary.com

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Breaking Hand and Fist Bones When Punching

     Just about everyone knows by now, that “bare-knuckle” punching upon parts of the head can be damaging. Specifically I like to remind people that it is the “bicycle helmet” area of the skull, especially prominent, especially manifesting, when an opponent naturally ducks or ducks-and-turns versus your punches. You hit the “helmet.” Broken hands. Split knuckle breaks. Etc. (Boxing gloves hide all this angst.)

Otherwise, lower, the jaw moves and the head can move when punched, helping to “cushion” your punches – jeez – is cushion is a good word for it? “Gives,” maybe? The head “gives,” or “gives-way” with lower punches. (Think about why we wear mouthpieces.)

     There are just times when the neck gets solid, coupled with the ducking “bike helmet zone” and punching folks break their hands. I really don’t want to dissect this, you know, start the tiresome, age-old debate about palm-strikes versus punches again here…what I really want to specifically mention here is, tell a simple tale about uppercuts to the jaw. What if the head, neck, jaw, even shoulders tighten up versus an incoming uppercut, punch?

Decades ago I had to punch a guy I was arresting. An uppercut under his arm like in this photo. My hand hit his particularly sharp jaw and instantly hurt my “middle finger.” While I was booking him into jail, I looked at his jaw. Real pointy, for what that’s worth. Years later? I had surgery to fix this finger. I have hit a few “heads though time,” closed fist punches and had no other – zero- hand injuries. (They can be done.) Once, a swollen ring finger. But nothing serious. Then, a middle finger problem on my right hand seems to have gone away with time. But this one uppercut caused years of on-again/off-again discomfort. Then surgery.

So, way back then, I began to consider and list uppercuts as a tricky head punch along with hitting the bicycle helmet area of the head. I would be remiss not to mention while on this subject that that the uppercut usually/often causes the head to whip back and forth, not leaving the head back for follow-ups, such as a high hook, unless you are super fast. A number of combatives people, trying to set up scenarios, often do not know this.

Recently one of my friends, a pro-fighter whose name you’d recognize, wearing the regulation MMA gloves, threw an uppercut to a jaw in a pro fight. He broke his hand. Here is his x-ray. He passed it to me for educational purposes and I now pass it to you. But we are not sure yet if we should release his name for a host of reasons. Maybe later. He does hit really hard. Word is the other guy saw it coming and “hunkered” down. SNAP!

File under: Uppercuts to the jaw. 
File under: Punches to the “bicycle helmet” area of the head.
File under: Head, jaw, neck, even shoulders when punched

Hock’s email is HockHochheim@Forcenecessary.com

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I Was a Teenage…Teenager!

     A teenage cave…aahh “person.” Yeah, cave person. It must have been tough being a teenage cave person as in the movie and poster attached to this suggests. You were pretty stupid about your rocky or jungle surroundings. Your world. Didn’t know that movie dinosaurs, giant snakes and giant bugs were everywhere. Quicksand. Strange tribes of semi-monsters in various stages of their evolution roamed. Didn’t understand sex real well. Fire was new and cool. But somehow, as in the movie, still had hairspray and fingernail polish. Is that much different than teenagers today?

Lots of the “I was a Teenage….this or that monster” movies, comics and books. Like a teenage werewolf. Some teenagers are little monsters. Remember the expression “raging hormones?” If you have grown kids. Then you know they were once teenagers. Teenagers are often, generically a real pain in the ass. That’s life. If you have young kids? Gird your loins because a lot might REALLY change around teenage time. Is their hope in all these prehistoric hormones?

I too was a stupid teenager, probably a monster at times, were you? I can’t tell you just how stupid I was. I was also pretty stupid in my twenties too. Maybe I got a bit smarter when I hit about 30 or so, but I still question that. Not sure where I am on the stupid chart today either. I should not have been trusted with what I was trusted with back then, in what was once called by advertisers as the “Wonder Bread” years. (that’s growen’ up years and you needed all the nutrients of white bread to survive).

It always seems like teenagers of every generation demonstrate and even riot. Doesn’t it? Like clockwork. Always something to rant about. Lots of “teenager talk” these days too, huh? Teenagers recently descended upon DC and other cities lately over gun control. It was a liberal hoopla, holiday. Better than Christmas! Never let a tragedy go to waste. Although crowd counters say that the groups were only 20% teenagers. 80% of adults – many of whom always show up with all the required anti-this, anti-that, pro-this-or-that liberal stuff. They are so organized! Buses. Hotels. Placards! All those signs! The news says that the usual, dare I say “suspects,” paid large chunks of money to bankroll it all. These suspects are a wicked little ring of interconnected complainers. A big circle that even includes George Soros and Louis Farrakhan. But who cares, right? Soros. He’s like an unmasked Darth Vader.

Remember the 1968 movie, “Wild in the Streets?” Of course you don’t. But it was about US teenagers voting in a 24 year old president Max Frost. If you are a dipshit hippy this is great news. Also for Bernie Saunders fans because young and old minds of mush, with no math skills or grasp of history have hope. Ahhh, the road to Venezuela.

A rare few of these teenage monsters though became school and church shooters. But this is really rare. I mean REALLY, really rare. Look at the big picture. 340 million Americans. Some 340 million-plus firearms out there. If you believed the media, liberals and these teenagers, we would all be dead by now. Same thing with video games. Yet, we have some 30,000 high schools, some 90,000 elementary schools. Some 6,000 colleges. These places are doing business some 180 days a year. Then think of summer school. It’s more. Some 70 million “kids” are in school. Then add in the years to this equation. Crunch the math, run the numbers and see how unbelievably, incredibly safe American schools and kids are every day. Every year. Then run these same number categories on churches. I think it is hard for teenagers to grasp this safety. It is also hard for under-developed, short-sighted adults to grasp this too. Under-developed?

Apparently John Adams said this first, and it has been altered and re-quoted and requoted and it’s a concept I have grown to believe, give or take a few years of age…

“If You Are Not a Liberal When Young, You Have No Heart. If You Are Not a Conservative When Old, You Have No Brain.”

     But under-developed? It is common knowledge in the brain industry that the human mind if not injured, brainwashed or abused, it is not fully formed/functional until about 25 years of age. TWENTY-FIVE! Not 16, 18, even 21. This accepted science will not manifest over into politics. It’s a conundrum. We vote at 18. Kids go off to war at 18. I think the common military unit is often like a high school football team with guns. We’ll NEVER enforce a 25 year old voting age. Hell, we can’t even define what a citizen is anymore. I can. Common sense can. But then there’s California. Before these amazing, breaking brain discoveries were made, the old adage was that an adulthood/personality/life-path is usually formed at 21. “You are who you were at 21.” But I think now, that old adage needs to adjust to 25 thanks to neuro-science. Then come those haunting words. Injured. Brainwashed. Abused.  I think geographic and demographic brainwashing are the biggest deterrents to smarts, common sense and critical thinking. Then there’s just being a rebel for rebels sake. Its prehistoric! Like clockwork. Like the prehistoric teenage rebels in the movie…

But anyway…
– So cheer up, parents. If you can live through it, some teen-age monsters grow up and out of it.

– So cheer up America. If you can live through it, the teen-age monsters grow up and might think things through.


“I am just an unfrozen, teenage caveman. I don’t understand your cars and machines, your politics, the history of the world, math …”

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To Sumbrada, or Not to Sumbrada, THAT is…

First off that’s me and the “Irreplaceable” Tim Llacuna in March, 2018’s  big Central California Stick seminar weekend at Ron Esteller’s Kaju. Though the Bay Area, CA seminar that weekend was listed as Force Necessary: Stick, I also promised a little segment on Filipino stick too, just to round things off. And, as a result, we got a request for…Filipino Sumbrada. And since I “sing for my supper” as Sinatra use to say, so we, by God, did us some Sumbrada.

     Which…can be complicated for some folks to do such things. I am not a fan of Sumbrada, per say. I certainly do not believe it should be the foundation format for a system, as it somehow is for some, which I find short-sighted. It is but one drill in a bunch of skill drills/exercises. It has been declared a “dead drill,” blah, blah, blah and yes, to some extent I agree with these naysayers. But it is still a very universal drill for many, many Filipino systems and I…in good conscious, cannot put a PAC/Filipino practitioner out on the street that doesn’t know about Sumbrada and hasn’t fooled with it. I just…can’t. I’ve been forced, more or less, to mess with it since 1986 and that is why. It does develop a few healthy attack recognitions and mannerisms.

     I first learned Sumbrada from Paul Vunak in the late 1980s. Sumbrada means a few things, like “counter for counter” and sort of like “shadowing.” Sumbrada range is when the tip of your stick can touch the opponent’s head and your hand can touch the opponent’s hand. That hand contact is a very deep subject. People tend to forget that on the end of all these drills, you break the pattern. Like the Bruce Lee example, folks get busy looking at the finger and not the moon, people get too busy worrying over the pattern and forget you are supposed to free-style fight.

     In that PAC course I require folks do hand sumbrada, single stick sumbrada, double stick sumbrada, Knife sumbrada, espada y daga sumbrada. And, we make folks do at least three inserts/interruptions for each, all in Level 7 of the PAC course. Sumbrada is just another  exercise, among many exercises, which include wind sprints and chin-ups and beating tires and war posts, etc. Doing too much of one thing and not enough of other things is the real problem.

     But the Force Necessary: Stick course is NOT Filipino martial arts stuff. There is no sumbrada in FN: Stick. The FN: Stick course is laid out this way:
   Impact weapon vs hand
   Impact weapon vs stick (rare, huh?)
   Impact weapon vs knife
   Impact weapon vs gun threats

Level 1: Impact Weapons & their Stress Quick Draws
Level 2: Stick Retention Primer
Level 3: Stick Blocking Primer
Level 4: Single Hand Grip Striking Primer
Level 5: Riot Stick (Double Hand Grip)
Level 6: “While Holding,” Supporting the Stick
Level 7: The Push Series Grappling & Spartan Module
Level 8: The Pull Series Grappling & “Chain of the Stick”
Level 9: The Turn Series Grappling & “In the Clutches” 
Level 10: The “Black Belt” Combat Scenario Test
Level 11: Intensive Stick Ground Fighting
Level 12: “Crossing Sticks” Stick Dueling Expertise
Level 13: …and up…levels upon Individual request

Much of the FN: Stick course material is over-viewed in this best seller Axe Handle Combatives.  Click here to see more and, or acquire it:

The Ten Deadly Mistakes

     I can’t say how old this list is. I saw them all in the 1970s in police training. This list. It’s not in any order.

     The list was distributed in a police-only textbook in 1975 called Officer Down, Code 3, by Pierce Brooks. The list also applies to the military. One might think that this doesn’t completely apply to citizens? But it does. For example, some civilians might think that Number 9 doesn’t apply, but there are situations, concerns and applications about controlling suspects while waiting for police arrival. I have taught those “arrest, control and contain” methods for over 20 years to people because I think they need to know them. They can be important. I have always said,

     “I’ve never learned anything as a cop I didn’t think citizens needed to know too.”

     If a person will stop and think about it, every point can apply to their safety.

     Many of you out there think some of these topics are “new” and recently invented by young “geniuses.” Like the pre-fight indicator lists which has reached new fad-like heights of late. None are new. I do think they have some merit as I have seen them unfold before my eyes. But they are not as important as one might think when you add criminal and military ambush into the equation. But the police spend an inordinate amount of time intervening, interviewing, investigating and prowling into areas regular people shouldn’t do or go and interacting with people. So too do soldiers and Marines going to house-to-house, village-to-village in the last 20 years. Knowing these, essentially biological tip-offs and learned tricks like sucker punches and so forth, can be helpful. I have a while chapter of these pre-fight tips in my book, Fightin’ Words. I started collecting them in 1973 from a class in U.S. Army military police academy.

     Numerous tips are instinctual for many, but the list attempts to stick a label on it – which is fine and can be educationally important. New people are learning old stuff all the time and “old,” “been-around” people need reminders, maybe through new ways (as well as learning new things too).

     People are constantly ridiculing police actions and police training. The root, the backbone, the steering for quality has been present for decades and decades. Apathy, manpower and budget problems get in the way. It’s left to the individual officer to spend, train or to stagnant. As with a citizen. Learn, train or stagnate. Use it or lose it. Ignorant and or, Perishable.

     People – cops, may tire of seeing the list and their eyes might brush right over the poster in a blur after awhile, as it appeared on many a squad room wall decades ago. All of the “fatal mistakes” are important. All are old pieces of advice you can live or die by. May all good people live by them.

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The Perceptions of Your Fight

Who Fight? What Fight? Where Fight? When Fight? How Fight and Why Fight?
     I am an old police detective from a time when Community Oriented Policing was going to save the world and cure cancer. One of the points of said movement was that the “perception of crime” was just as real to citizens as the real crime was. Usually the perception of crime was/is always way higher than the real McCoy. So, police then not only had to fight real crime, but had to have an advertising and public relations campaign against the perception of crime. I then sarcastically nicknamed our police agency the “Happy Machine” because we had to also make people… “happy.” I would often walk into the squad briefing and mutter, “another day at the happy machine,” which would make my fellow officers laugh and chuckle. It least that made them happy?
     Fact was and is, in the big picture, most people in the USA and other civilized countries will never be victims of crime. But people have fear and a perception of their future crime problem. Home invader? Rapist? Mugger? Mass shooter. Crazy guy? Serial killer? Kidnapping? Bar fight? Road Rage? Etc. Some have a perception of how they will handle it. Gun? Knife? MMA? WWII? Kill? Maim? Contain? Negotiate? Pray? Etc. It certainly would help if their perceptions were as accurate as possible in predicting an overall crime and a generic solution or two. 
     Perception, as defined – “a way of regarding, trying to understand, or interpreting something; a mental impression.”
     Mental impressions and being impressionable. I recently watched one of the first episodes of the 1980’s TJ Hooker cop show, just for sheer nostalgia. It could have been the first episode. On patrol in a giant squad car prowling residential streets, Hooker lectures to his rookie partner – you know, that skinny kid with the weird hairdo – the shame and horror of Los Angeles, people cowering and hiding in their houses, fearing the crime on the streets. That was 1981! They were scaring the BeJesus out of you back then. Of course that was dramatic, but the fear idea fed and still feeds people.
     How deep was that paranoid perception of criminals? Has that perception changed? Many perceptions about fighting against bad guys are subliminally shaped by books, movies, TV and even personal fantasy projections. Remember back when Chuck Norris or Claude Van Damme would kick a bad guy down? The bad guy would crash and the Chucks and the Claudes would just stand there, in a poster-boy, fighting pose, bouncing up and down, waiting for the serial killer to stand back up and continue the fight. Art imitates life and life mimics art.
     We had a champion black belt in our old karate school I attended decades ago, who got into a fight….in a bar…and lost. He came to class and told the school owner, “I was in a fight last night and it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be.” If you are in a non-sport class, your student should return to you and say, “I was in a fight last night and it was just like you told me.” Perception.
     Perception is the running guts of training though isn’t it? We martial folks, civilians, police and military train for the perception of what we think our “fight” will be like. If you are sport fighting, you know exactly who, what, where, when, how and why about your scheduled fight. You have a darn good perception of the “Ws.” Even if you are a soldier, you have some good perceptions about what might happen to you and your unit, all from a gathered mission intelligence and assignment history. (This is why God made sergeants.) You know the Octagon fight will happen, and you are pretty sure trouble is ahead in a war zone, but what about sporadic criminals versus citizen encounters? That may never happen…
     I use to complain that so many of these modern fighting systems of recent times inadvertently train for a fight in “the bar,” or on the sidewalk or parking lot outside the bar? The cursed dark alleyway out back of the bar? Roadhouse? How many training videos were made right in bars? Young guys teaching other young guys how to fight and they just automatically assume/gravitate to the barroom setting. Meanwhile a soldier in Syria has another location in mind. Real people seem to be fighting a whole lot, somewhere else on the planet. Earth is a big place. Police are at least generally aware they could be fighting absolutely anyway, anywhere – inside or outside houses and business. On tile floor, rugs, cement, dirt, grass, mud, tar. I have never fought anybody underwater, though. HA! Should I train for that too? (Though I know of some cops fighting people on the fringes of oceans and lakes.)
     I think I’ve had to struggle, and, or fight most people on parking lots, streets and inside houses full of furniture more than other locales. People on the planet Earth will fight in rural, urban, suburban areas, inside and outside of buildings at any time of day and regardless of the weather. But cheer up barroom brawlers, I do hope that using the ashtray-on-the-bar-to-hit-a-guy-in-the-face-with-trick…will work out for ya! (Unless its a no-smoking bar, of course.)
     Established gun instructor and ex-cop Tom Givens reports that through the years his shooting students have had over 60 gun encounters in parking lots (Memphis is a little crazy) so an emphasis on shooting live fire AND SIMS, in and out of, and around cars should be pretty important. Parking lots are indeed melting pots of all kinds of people and places where bad guys do go to hunt. Records even show that one in every five vehicle accidents occur on parking lots too. Parking lots then super-duper dangerous? Once again, in the big picture, if you compared say, Walmart’s total sales/customers, to its parking crimes and accidents, their parking lots are pretty darn safe places. We see crazy reports on the news about road rage. But look at the millions of cars in the USA taking billions of trips each day, compared to road rage incidents. Road crime and even accidents stats in comparison tell us the roadways are pretty safe too. Domestic and family violence/disturbances are way too high, but in comparison to the big picture of 340 million people in the USA? Not too bad (as far as we know.) There are over 100,000 schools/colleges in the US and a teeny-tiny sliver of school shootings. Add in attendance days and you have millions of safe days. Schools are pretty darn safe places. How about comparing the total number of houses with the total number of burglaries. Oh, and, Police don’t fight people all that often when compared to the tons of non-violent police/citizen interactions and arrests.
     It’s nice to do these big picture comparisons and breathe a sigh of relief, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare and be complacent. And when we prepare, we perceive. You are still left with these guesses, your perceptions and mental impressions of your future fight. We now watch crazy, reality, video clips on youtube and perhaps they do help the real perception of the wacky chaos that will most likely occur in a fight, and not leave us with some Chuck Norris, karate fight scene in our minds.
     It’s always a good rule to “reduce the abstract” when training, but there is still a time and place for you, in a sterile room, to learn and exercise some basic, generic things which we hope you can apply under the circumstance, come what may. Sadly, we don’t have Hollow Decks like on Star Trek where we can fight and turn up the knob on resistance and locations, and still go to work the next day not scarred or crippled.
     Come, what may. We learn the “come what may” via collecting good intelligence info on crime and war where you are and where you are going. So, we train to fight the fight we perceive and who, what, where, when, how and why we perceive it will happen.
Where do you perceive your fight will be?
What will it be like?
Will things happen as fast as you think? Slower?
Sporty? Non-sporty?
Indo artsy?
Slinky Systema?
Hand? Stick? Knife? Gun?
Will it start with an interview or ambush?
How do you perceive your fight?

Waiting for SWAT at School Shootings

I have been trying to keep my mouth shut about the Florida school shootings this February, 2018, and for that matter, about all school shootings. Parkland, Florida was indeed a perfect storm for the school shooting. All systems failed. A perfect, horror storm of failures. I am not expert on school shootings and I just read over what Ohio Officer Greg Ellifritz and Police Academy Director Ron Borsch write on them. Pretty comprehensive stuff, as Greg and Ron have made it their passion to collect this info. Recently a friend asked me to endorse and comment on his new school shooting book and I flat out told him I couldn’t because I am just not an expert on it. I can however bark about a few points from my personal experience and opinion.

     I just have a few simple, overall solutions rattling around my head, like locked, bullet proof doors and windows around those doors – maybe even the whole first floor windows?  Then some guards and, or special police officers. Each campus will be different and needs a customized plan. Then, the freedom of some teachers to carry weapons if they wish. And most importantly making an interconnected police computer program to collect and share the selected data on crazy people and guns. As they say, “there outta’ be a law.”

     I am not interested in any misguided, hippy solutions, using small populations or mind-controlled countries as examples of gun-free utopia. These countries still have gun crime and problems. But, remember, these samples of the world do not have 340 million people with 400 million fireams out there already, all over thousands and thousands of square miles. If you believed the detached-from-reality crap the media spits out? We should all be dead by now. Instead only the teenyist, tinyest amount of people are shot and/or killed each year, in comparison to 340 million people, and our interactions! There are literally billions of safe interactions between all kinds of people everyday, coast to coast EVERY DAY. American people…do get along quite well and quite safely, despite what is fired up in the airhead news.

     I was put in a school for a short period. Forced. Ordered. In my agency many moons ago, we got a new detective sergeant, who had no teeth for being an investigator – zero – as he was just a patrol guy “Peter Principled” into filling a gap. He believed so, so strongly in School Resource Officers – that is assigning police to “live” at a school. But the police chief at the time didn’t have the same dream. Not enough manpower, the chief said. That did not stop Sergeant Zero though, as he quietly assigned a few detectives under his bailiwick to wear raid jackets and get out to the biggest high school in the city and…stand around… especially in the morning and afternoon rush. And just hang around the schools? The school admin was so happy and expected way more. But this is just NOT detective work.

     So, I got stuck in this mess too. How? Part of our expected responsibility as detectives was to also develop and work dope cases “on the side.” By “dope” I mean any and all drugs. It is just something we oldtimers did. At the time I was working on a side case when I could, of LSD sales at this biggest high school. From time to time, I climbed on the roof with binocs to eye-follow a certain couple of skunks. I caught one little rat selling LSD. School admin was so happy, and then somehow at that very time, I was swept up in this sergeant’s SRO cause. “Oh can we have Hock out here too?” asked the happy admin. Well, crap. Some of us even found ourselves in a week-long SRO school that Sergeant Zero mandated and my agency “higher” didn’t even know about. (We were also under a strange, detached CID LT at the time too, and the SGT and LT didn’t even talk to each other, when passing each other in the hallway. Police agencies are usually like disfunctional families when you pull back the curtains.)

     Standing around a high school is like absolutely the LAST F___ing thing I wanted to do, and keep in mind I was working a murder during this time period, as well as other cases. I couldn’t, shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) be standing around a damn school. I simply quit showing up out there when this same Sergeant Zero assigned me a second murder. A woman found strangled by a wire hanger in her apartment. What in hell was he thinking? I had a clone, or what? I simply ignored the whole school thing and worked my cases. I waited for his complaint, but none came, because that, and my logical and sarcastic response, would reveal and contest the Sergeant Zero, little SRO “plot.”

     Since then, the SRO programs became official PATROL  programs and almost mandatory in most places in the USA. Many SRO cops see it as a day-job, retirement with weekends off and not at all like guarding a forward-operating-base in Afghanistan, anticipating machine gun fire every several hours. That’s what citizens want and expect right? A super cop who can suddenly machine gun fight an ambush attack? Actually all these security jobs are very boring. Stagnant and boring. I have done all kinds of security jobs since the 1970s. It’s a real challenge to stay ready and alert when the real odds are that NOTHING will ever, EVER happen.

On this cops-waiting-outside thing, which some folks have really asked me to comment on and why I am writing this. First, it’s odd that it took several days before this info came out. Isn’t it? The first rush of news passed over in a big way. Everybody took their usual brainwashed positions, and then…

“Oh and by the way, “our cops didn’t go in”

…news slips out a few days later? What? A lot of people are now talking about these Broward County cops, or in particular, this one SRO cop Scott Peterson waiting and, or “cowering” outside. The media likes that word, cowering.

     There is an aggravating history of “police waiting outside.” I was around during the In the early days of the proliferation of SWAT teams – and the days were confusing and there was a period where many police managements had a “wait for SWAT” attitude and orders. This culminated with the Columbine school shooting. I nearly kicked my TV screen in when I saw the live footage of officer’s waiting outside the Columbine school for SWAT as people were shot and even bled to death inside. Once you have SWAT, then you have to use SWAT or maybe get sued for using them or maybe even get sued for not using them. (This is a subject of a whole other essay.)

     But the general, police-admin consensus at the time was “Have Swat? Patrol Waits.” Patrol backs off and waits. “Secure the scene!” Yes, wait. Wait while all the team pagers go off, team members drive to the station. Team members dress up and dress up and dress up. They arrive in their team van or vans. They prepare a team tactical entry. We know now that is way, way too long, way too late. I …could…tell…you…stories about this.

     After that Columbine carnage a lot of police admins and SWAT guys made public statements supporting the “SWAT-Wait” policies that they themselves had invented and dictated. But simple common sense could tell they were wrong and the whole “wait” idea was wrong, wrong, wrong.

     Thus, after Columbine, the “Active Shooter” courses slowly began – with their own growing pains – which sort of returned the police patrol officer back to pre-SWAT day expectations. All kinds of things were then invented for the common street cop to enter schools, like in groups of…4 (what? Waiting for 3 others to arrive now? And in so close a grouping that one machine gun burst of 3 rounds, or a shotgun blast could take out two or more of the clustered cops. Entry must be made instead a military manner of cover and move, not parade.)

 But lets look at the SRO situation at that very school…
     “A Broward County SRO must carry a political hat and be able to intercept behavior, modify his/her action based on a specific policy need, falsify documents, hide evidence, manipulate records and engage inside the system with an understanding of the unwritten goals. Broward County school law enforcement are given political instructions, and carrying out political objectives. They are not given law-enforcement instructions. The school officers are the primary foot soldiers carrying out county political policy. Physical security of school students is not their role, they don’t have time for that. The Broward County SRO is in place to protect the school system “policy” and ensure students are not arrested for criminal conduct.”


     In my ancient days of policing, police were supposed to deliver babies on up to killing people, and everything in between. We are now expected again to enter school shootings and not wait. And, you have to enter like a solo soldier. How many cops have this soldier DNA in them? Some. And speaking of DNA? What about teachers? Can some teachers act like soldiers too? Well…some.

     As an aside, a whole lot of people are blabbing on the web and Facebook about what they would have done. You know, unless you’ve been in gun fight and most of you haven’t, you don’t know what the hell you would have done, and what you would do may vary from week to week based on a whole bunch of reasons and circumstances. So how’s about a little less of that blow-heart bull from you inexperinced, shadow-box heroes.

Read more:

Broward county sheriffs office did not miss warning signs or make mistakes

Broward County employee reveals inside info

School board admitting their mistakes

I’m No Coward, he says…

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